Find Your Perfect Venue
El Otro Lado : Portobelo, Panama
Cortnie Fausner
by Cortnie Fausner

The Report

El Otro Lado ("To The Other Side") is a private retreat, situated on Portobelo Bay, across from Portobelo, a 400-year-old town built by Spanish colonialists. This waterfront venue integrates design, culture, nature and gastronomy in a perfect fusion that will provide your guests with one-of-a-kind experiences. This venue is ideal for the party host or hostess who wants to truly getaway, embark on adventure and embrace the local culture. This venue will give your guests a truly unique experience

Surrounded by jungle and steamy rainforests, El Otro Lado is located just over an hour from Panama City, and next to the Portobelo National Park. This lovely venue with it's kaleidoscope of colors has views of the sea and rainforests. El Otro Lado is comprised of four tropical eclectic designed houses and Casa Grande (perfect for a bridal suite). This colorful and tropical venue integrates the handicrafts and artwork  of Panama’s Atlantic coast throughout. To add to the ambiance a tropical soundtrack curated by renowned broadcaster, Gladys Palmera, plays in the background.

ACCOMMODATIONS: 4 Houses + 3 Suites
HIGH SEASON: Dec - April + Holidays
FOOD SERVICE: Provided by Venue
BAR SERVICE: Provided by Venue
VIEWS: Ocean & Rainforest
DECOR: Topical Colonial


This venue is ideal for retreats, workshops, intimate gatherings, weddings, getaways with the gals, vow renewals and elopement. We also think this would be perfect for a family reunion because each family could take over their own house for the week.

El Otro Lado provides the option to choose from five venue spaces. The Cannon Garden, Reservoir Terrace, Salon Casa Grande, Infinity Pool Deck, Gazebo, or Espave Garden.

Before your wedding your guests can gather at the Gazebo which is the heart of El Otro Lado. Serve guests the “Maracuaya” passion fruit mojito and the daily fresh fish.  Listen to the vibrant selection of music, specially created for El Otro Lado by Radio Gladys Palmera.

The Dish. At your party, El Otro Lado will serve up fantastic fusion cuisine, which is a delicious mix uniting the local food culture with European, American and oriental traditions. They strive to invite you to a journey through the textures and flavors of the different dishes. We really love the bright turqouise dishes that come standard at El Otro Lado, and the fun touches like hand carved turtles that accompany some of the food!

Perfect for:

  • corporate event
  • group getaway
  • wedding ceremony
  • wedding reception
  • Reunion


El Otro Lado is laden with history. It is surrounded by Portobelo National Park and  is next to Fort San Fernando, UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also across the bay from Portobelo, terminus of the Camino Real - the Spanish Trail that brought the gold, sliver and precious stones from the Mayan, Inca and Aztec Empires to the Spanish Galleons to be shipped to Castille, Spain.

Another bonus? There are 5 separate houses you and your guests can take over for the event. Each has a theme that involves nature! Wouldn't it be fun to assign each group of guests to one of the house themes based on what would fit them the most? There is The Forest House, Sea House, Sun House, Spirit House, and The Casa Grande. Each house is defined by a different color, different view and unique decor. Each contains different displays of artwork and decorative fabrics. Some have peculiar collections of Turkish Caps, indigenous handicrafts, and sculptures while other houses display African Masks and Congo Headgear. They are all the perfect fusion of colorful Caribbean with a contemporary twist.

The Casa Grande is the largest, and would be the ideal location for the party host or hostess to reside for the duration of the event. Its has tropical colonial design, with ample terraces facing the rooms. It is an ideal setting that highlights the extraordinary view of the bay of Portobelo.


This venue is so colorful, with such an incredible plethora of local art that any event hosted here needs to blend into the surroundings and embrace the locale.

1. Buy handicrafts and colorful textiles from the Embera Tribe and use them as table linens to cover your dining tables with. 2. Utilize the bright turquoise plates that El Otro Lado has onsite to serve your party feast on. 3. Take your guests to the Carpentry Workshop in Portobelo where the locals will teach you skills in painting and carving. When finished, you and your guests can bring back your own creations! Use the artwork created by your guests as both tabletop decor for the event AND as their favors to take home!


Jim from El Otro Lado, told us that you must try the Passion Fruit Mojito. Additionally, you can arrange a Congo dance at your soiree. Your guests will be delighted when they are surprised with rhythmic drums accompanied by voices and hand claps, and can join in on the dance with the locals. Notable Press. We uncovered that El Otro Lado graced the cover of Conde Naste Traveler magazine. The stripes and bright colors of the houses and interiors are perfect backdrops for photographs!


  • Passion fruit mojitos
  • The rainforest and waterfront setting
  • Infinity edge pool on the secluded bay
  • The plethora of cultural activities El Otro Lado offers
  • The impeccable and colorful decor
  • You can support the locals by purchasing their art to incorporate into your event design!
  • There are 5 separate houses so you can have privacy throughout the event
  • The crayola colored buildings are fantastic backdrops for photos and celebrations!


Embera Tribe Visit:

In Chagres National Park, there are several settlements of the Embera tribe. El Otro Lado will take you to the Chagres River, where a canoe, manned by Embera natives, will take you to the village. Learn about the culture & lifestyle of the Embera, listen to their music, enjoy their dance, & buy handicrafts.

Trip to San Blas:

San Blas is one of the most widely photographed spots of the Caribbean. Known for its white sand beaches, clear water, stunning art & impressive yet unspoilt culture of the Kuna tribe, it is accessible only by air or sea. El Otro Lado can arrange a helicopter flight here to savor a gourmet picnic with butler service.

River excursion on the Faraona:

Get ready to take an unimaginable journey down the river at sunset in our barge, the “Faraona”. You will enjoy nature in a setting like no other, while El Otro Lado staff will accompany you, serving a ceviche taste-testing session joined by appropriate wines and beverages.

Photos provided by El Otro Lado; Bottom row via Conde Naste Traveler Magazine.

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